Choral society celebrated snow with concerts this weekend
Alocal group of vocalists is set to play a concert this weekend celebrating the incipience of winter, the holiday season and the plentiful gift, or punishment to some, already presented to the Keystone State by Mother Nature this season: snow. The Schuylkill Choral Society will present “The Snow of Pennsylvania” at 7 p.m. Saturday at Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church, 252 Dock St., Schuylkill Haven; and 3 p.m. Sunday at St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, 10th and Mahantongo streets, Pottsville. Tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for seniors and students and can be bought at the door or from any society member, according to Linda Kriner, choral society publicity chairperson. The show, aside from including the traditional holiday classics, will begin with a lesser-known work by Canadian composer Sarah Quartel titled “Snow Angel.” “It’s a newer, contemporary-type piece and it’s just a new way of telling the Christmas story. It’s very different and I listened to it and it was kind of a mix of ‘Lord of the Rings,’ with some gospel, with some contemporary and one section it’s almost like a rap,” Music Director Mark P. Thomas said excitedly about the five-movement composition. “It was really a neat combination of things that I thought was very unique but I didn’t think would alienate our audience. I thought ‘they’re going to sit there and be awed by the sound.’ It’s written really well, the harmonies are beautiful and it’s unique, which is what I was looking for” in order to arouse the spirit of the season, he said. Dr. John Chawluk on cello, Dave Derves on percussion — “two great local musicians,” according to Thomas — will accompany throughout “Snow Angel,” Kriner said. Kimberly Breiner Stoudt on piano will be accompanist throughout the show. True to its name, the group will also feature works by two Schuylkill County natives, works that were resurrected after years past. One of those works, originally performed by Frank Jordan of the Jordan Brothers fame, harkens back to his county roots. It’s titled “Love On Our Side (Coal Cracker’s Christmas)” and has been specially arranged for the chorus by Thomas and adapted for piano accompaniment by Breiner Stoudt, both with the supervision of Jordan. “It came out really, really neat. I think it’s going to be really special when the people hear it. That was part of that too: to use Frank and his legacy in our county and him being part of the Jordan Brothers. I think it’s going to be one of the highlights of the concert,” Thomas said. The other song, “Snowflakes,” was written by New Ringgold native Cathy Miller while in college and was chosen through more or less happenstance. According to Thomas, back then he was asked to give some pointers on the piece, and while planning for the event in June, crossed her path and asked her if he could use it. After digging up the composition, Miller gave the song a few revisions for use at the concert. “I thought ‘this has great local flavor.’ This is part of what I wanted to do: have some of the local artists and things represented in this
music,” Thomas said. After those songs are played, the first half concludes and makes way for a second half full of holiday season favorites, such as “Frosty the Snowman,” “White Christmas,” Let it Snow,” “Baby it’s Cold Outside” and more, according to Kriner, with Thomas adding that he expects people to be singing along. With the unique portion of music being played at the concert, Kriner advised any music lover to go out and take in the tunes and support locally made music. “I would suggest that anyone who likes what we do (should) not miss this one because the first half is really different but it’s absolutely beautiful, and very meaningful too,” she said. For more information, visit www.schchoral.org or call 570-628-3388.
Schuylkill Choral Society members, from left, Edward Scheetz, Jeff Miller, Frank Jordan and Donna Merkey rehearse for their Christmas concert, scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church, Schuylkill Haven, and at 3 p.m. Sunday at St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, Pottsville.